On the 90% rule...

The rule appears to be an artificial cost control that can be manipulated if there is no mechanism to control actual rate hikes, service and drug costs, etc.

I have heard nothing about any certain control on costs.

IE: It is nice that they want to force private health insruance providers to spend 90% of a million dollars on services, etc.. But can you afford the cost of the plan, say two hundred thousand dollars for that million dollar plan even if it is subsidized by the government to the tune of 80%, as well? And it doesn't really matter if you can afford it or not, even at that price... You have to buy healthcare insurance or face a fine.

Artificial and meaningless percentages UNLESS there are real mechanisms to control costs. HHS, supposedly, can audit healthcare costs, but I have seen no means for them to enforce keeping costs low. I can see the sternly worded letters from HHS accomplishing a lot! "TSk! TSK! You raised rates to increase the amount of profit in your 10% you naughty insurer..."

And I know that some states have boards that must approve health insurance rate hikes, like in Maine, but most states do not.

Where is the real cost control in that percentage? It does not exist, as near as I can tell. There is too little known about the proposed changes by the gang of 10 and that is currently being reviewed by the CBO.

And then there appears to be another serious issue regarding denial of services that is seemingly not addressed, either. What good is any insurance at any cost if they can still refuse to cover things that you need?

I want to like the expansion of Medicaid and Medicare access... I really do. But until we know what changes were made and how they affect the entirety of the previous Senate bill there is not too much to say good or bad. And keep in mind that if they ping pong this bill, everything else discussed and that was good in the previous House healthcare reform bill will no longer exist.

Updated below the fold, Nancy Pelosi reacts to the proposed Senate legislation. At least, to the best of her abilities given nobody really knows the full deatils yet. Also, Sen. Dodd and Howard Dean have copmments on reform.

Via mcjoan:

While expressing enthusiasm for the Medicare buy-in, House Speaker Pelosi isn't ready to sign onto the Senate compromise yet.

"Let’s see what it is. It might come as a surprise. We haven’t seen
the paper from the senate. There is certainly a great deal of appeal
about putting people 55 and older on medicare. That’s something people
in the House have advocated for years."

She also showed some flexibility on the public option, but is still in wait-and-see mode:

"Well what I said was a two-part statement: The president has said,
we believe, the House believes that the public option is the best way
to hold the insurance companies honest, keep them honest and also to
increase competition. If you have a better way, put it on the table.
When we see something from the Senate, we’ll be able to make a judgment
about that."

Brian Beutler adds that she's not ready to agree to the ping-pong. (Here's the ping-pong primer in case you need a refresher.)

And yes... I do note Pelosi backing off of demands for a public option, much to my dismay. But it is only a half step back balanced with the reality that so far the only real cost control included any bill proposed has been the Public Option.

And some notes on healthcare reform from:

  • Senator Chris Dodd
    Today, Chris Dodd spoke on the floor of the senate and did something
    I'd wish more Democrats would do when it comes to the health care
    reform debate...call the Republicans out on their dishonest attacks
    when it comes to bi-partisanship.
  • Dr. Howard Dean
    Why he's so encouraged by the Senate healthcare reform bill. And remember, unlike us, he's actually worked on providing universal care.


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